Joseph's Story: From humble beginnings to powering a nation

Joseph Lengugwani was born into a very poor pastoralist family in northern Kenya whose livestock had been badly affected by drought, disease and banditry. One of five children, his mother died when he was young leaving the family dependent on food aid. Despite his challenging background, Joseph scored the highest marks in his primary school and was offered a place at Kisima School as his family had no money to pay for further education. He was the first in his family to go to both primary and secondary school.

At Kisima School Joseph flourished, becoming top student in the county in 2009. He now gives thanks for the amazing support he received from teachers and external speakers who motivated him to succeed academically with a strong work ethic. He credits Kisima School as providing him with a nurturing spiritual, physical and social environment that prepared him for later life.

Joseph left Kisima School and took up the offer of a one year pre-university leadership programme at Equity Bank before undertaking a five-year engineering and electronics degree at the prestigious Jomo Kenyatta University in Nairobi supported by a government scholarship. During university he was chairperson for the students from his home county of Samburu which he also visited, giving motivational talks to young people about options for studying.

After graduating, Joseph returned to northern Kenya and in 2017 joined the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) working on one of the largest wind power projects in the world, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project. There he was involved in the construction of a transmission line and substation which now serves the largest wind farm in Africa, generating approximately 15% of Kenya’s power. Joseph started as an assistant project engineer and then became a project engineer in 2018. When the substation was completed he became the electrical engineer, responsible for the entire region.

Joseph now supports his family helping them to live in a better place and pay school fees for two younger siblings. He also pays the school fees for other young people from the village. Joseph leads youth groups as well as organising holiday youth activities. He is currently working on a project to provide solar power for some secondary schools in his area which currently have no electricity.

This is what can happen when we give a child with potential the opportunity of an education. Find out how you can support more children like Joseph by sponsoring a child.

Watch the video above to see Joseph talking about the Turkana Wind Power Project